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Governor unveils new color-coded county-by-county plan for ‘living with COVID-19’ 

–Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled what has been named a “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” this week. The plan is a statewide, “stringent and slow plan for living with COVID-19 for the long haul.”

The plan imposes risk-based criteria on tightening and loosening allowable activities and expands the length of time between changes to “assess how any movement affects the trajectory of the disease.”

This new framework makes a number of changes to the state’s previous resilience roadmap.

Californians can go to covid19.ca.gov to find out where their county falls and what activities are allowable in each county.

“This blueprint is statewide, stringent and slow,” said Governor Newsom. “We have made notable progress over recent weeks, but the disease is still too widespread across the state. COVID-19 will be with us for a long time and we all need to adapt. We need to live differently. And we need to minimize exposure for our health, for our families and for our communities.”

The blueprint includes:

  • At least 21 days to expand activities beyond the initial tier to ensure California better limits the spread of the virus;
  • Mandatory metrics – case rates and test positivity – to measure how widespread COVID-19 is in each county and guide what is allowed;
  • A uniform state framework, with four categories instead of 58 different sets of rules;
  • A more nuanced way of allowing activity: Instead of open vs. closed, sectors can be partially opened and progressively add to their operations as disease transmission decreases; and
  • A new process for tightening back up again quickly when conditions worsen.

 

Based on recent data, each county will fall into one of four colored tiers – Purple (Widespread), Red (Substantial), Orange (Moderate) and Yellow (Minimal) – based on how prevalent COVID-19 is in each county and the extent of community spread. That color will indicate how sectors can operate.

For example, in the Purple (Widespread) tier where the disease is widespread, restaurants can only operate outdoors. But once a county has achieved a lower level of disease transmission and moved into the Red (Substantial) tier, restaurants can operate with 25-percent capacity indoors or 100 patrons, whichever is fewer.

It relies on two leading health metrics: number of cases per 100,000 residents and percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive. In addition, counties will also be required to show they are targeting resources and making the greatest efforts to prevent and fight COVID in communities and with individuals with the highest risk, and demonstrate improvements in outcomes.

Counties must remain in every tier but purple for a minimum of 21 days before being eligible to move into the next tier. Each Tuesday, California will update each county’s data for the previous week and make corresponding changes to tiers. In order to move into a less restrictive tier, a county must meet that tier’s criteria for two straight weeks.

Conversely, counties that fail to meet the metrics for their current tier for two consecutive weeks must move to the next most restrictive tier. The plan also includes an “emergency brake” where the state can intervene more immediately for factors like hospitalizations.

Purple (Widespread) is substituted for the previous County Data Monitoring List (which has equivalent criteria to Purple). Schools in the (Purple) Widespread tier aren’t permitted to reopen for in-person instruction, unless they receive a waiver from their local health department for TK-6 grades. Schools can reopen for in-person instruction once their county has been in the Red (Substantial) tier for at least two weeks.




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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.